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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

MORAL    JUDGMENTS    IN    HISTORY

this subject and made a justifiable protest; and it was in
this context that he used the terminology of one who is
protesting against a debasement of the currency.

In any case, in the world of pseudo-moral judgments
there is generally a tendency on the one hand to avoid
the higher regions of moral reflection and on the other
hand to make moral issues out of what are not really
moral issues at all. And if some may think that this is a
laudable symptom of ethical zeal, they are mistaken,
Even in the world at large it is rather a decline in genuine
fervour which produces the desire to make gratuitous
moral issues where such issues ought not really to be
drawn. This is the method by which conflicts and con-
troversies between human beings are rendered bitter and
cut-throat and incapable of compromise. Against the
argument that German historians in recent generations
did great harm by avoiding moral judgments/it is
possible to assert that these historians did harm, not
through abstention and austerity, but precisely because
they were not sufficiently reserved* They inserted
pseudo-moral judgments and approvals, mixed ethics
with reason-of-state, and tended to ratify and confirm
Frederick the Great and Bismarck at the critical points.
Indeed it has been commonly the case that those who
were most eager to demand moral judgments in history—
and who generally insist on the lower kind of pseudo-
moral judgments, since a more delicate handling of the
matter would hardly serve their purpose—have on the
whole been politicians, or men with a more or less direct
political purpose, men with an axe to grind, who have
rightly seen that moral judgments in history represent a